Writing a Better BIO
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Many of us create a professional bio for speaking engagements, a work website or social media platforms, but how much time and thought do you actually put into writing a bio that sets you apart from the crowd? Follow these tips to create a catchy bio that has the impact needed to market your unique expertise and leaves your audience wanting to learn more about you:
- Stick to third person - In most instances, your bio is an introduction from your company or to a professional audience so it’s proper to use pronouns like she, her, or him. Act like you are writing a bio for someone else to make this feel less awkward. On the other hand, if you are writing a bio for your social media profile it is better to use the first person as you are introducing yourself.
- Focus on your uniqueness - Many retail dietitians have somewhat similar job functions so highlight what makes you unique. Consider any special training you may have or an exclusive class you offer. Other examples may be your regular media segments, creative recipes or weekly podcast. Let your audience know how you use your special niche to create healthy eating solutions.
- Be brief and bright - A speech trainer once told me – “Be bright, be brief and be gone.” The same goes with a bio. Most people will not read a lengthy account of your career so keep it short and sweet. Use a sentence or two to introduce yourself and your key areas of expertise. Include a few sentences about your accomplishments and wrap up with your education and any pertinent professional links. Establish your credibility, and don’t be afraid to show your personality, perhaps by briefly sharing what you like to do outside of work.
While these tips are best practices overall, bios will differ if using specific platforms:
Company Website – Try to differentiate yourself but stick to the voice and brand of corporation.
Blogs and Publications – Connect your bio directly to the subject you are writing about. For third-party publications you may want to include a link back to your own website or work site.
LinkedIn – You don’t have to use all 2,000 characters to tell your story. Remember the “be bright, be brief” advice. Differentiate yourself in the first few sentences or no one is going to click “show more”.
Facebook – You only have 101 characters to share information but you have the option to set your bio as temporary so you can keep it fresh and updated. Although typically used for more personal posts, your bio here is important if you are building a personal brand.
Twitter – Use the 160 characters and short-hand format to get creative and have fun. You can also hashtag relevant industry words to increase discovery of your profile.
Instagram – Be short (150 characters or less) and use your space to drive people to content. Include appropriate hashtags or @ links.
Speaking Engagements – Remember to learn all you can about your audience and the event so you can tailor your bio content to demonstrate your proficiency.
The great thing about a bio is that you can change it frequently so it “fits” where you are now in your career. It should highlight the things you like doing and why people area attracted to you and your talents.